MIRRORCITY: Are These The Best Of London's Artists?

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 43 months ago
MIRRORCITY: Are These The Best Of London's Artists? ★☆☆☆☆ 1
Mirrorcity at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 11/10/2014.
A financial graph becomes a stage. Installation view. Photo: Linda Nylind
Mirrorcity at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 11/10/2014.
One of many video works on display. Installation view. Photo: Linda Nylind
Mirrorcity at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 13/10/2014.
Satirical news headlines Installation view. Photo: Linda Nylind
Mirrorcity at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 11/10/2014.
Installation view. Photo: Linda Nylind
Mirrorcity at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 11/10/2014.
An artist becomes a robot. Installation view. Photo: Linda Nylind
Mirrorcity at Hayward Gallery, London. 
Photo by Linda Nylind. 13/10/2014.
Two bodies push against each other to find a delicate balance. Installation view. Photo: Linda Nylind

Londonist Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Frieze London is one of the world's biggest art fairs and while it has drawn international collectors and galleries to London, it's fitting for the Hayward gallery to put on a group show all about artists who live and work in London — some are home grown talents while others were born abroad but now call London home. This exhibition is all about the international community of artists in London and is designed to show the cutting edge works they are creating.

A total of 23 artists and artist collectives have taken over the gallery space with a diverse range of artworks, including a film about the struggles of living in London that's shown inside a minibus spray painted with 'how to escape London'. A favourite of ours was Anne Hardy's massive crate that visitors will have to walk around just to locate the semi-concealed entrance.

There's plenty of video art on display, including one inside an upturned replica of ship's hull, and Turner prize winner Laure Provost has created a 'living room' so filled with nick-nacks that it's tricky to navigate. Despite these impressive installations, the majority of video works here are quite laborious and we struggled to engage with any of them.

Performance is now a massive buzzword in art, thanks in large part to Marina Abramovic, so the Hayward is keen not to miss out. That jogger in the high visibility jacket running through the gallery isn't someone who got lost while running along the South Bank but is part of the exhibition. However, the only performance that really stands out is the subtle piece where two figures push against each other in a slow-motion and graceful war of bodies.

There are some good works in this exhibition, most notably the photo-collages by John Stezaker, but the show suffers because the Hayward gallery has tried too hard to prove that London is cutting edge. By doing this we've ended up with an exhibition that doesn't do London's wider art scene justice.

MIRRORCITY: London artists on fiction and reality is on at Hayward Gallery until 4 January 2015. Tickets are £12 for adults, concessions available.

Last Updated 18 October 2014